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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Postgraduate > Late Antique and Byzantine Studies
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Late Antique and Byzantine Studies MA

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Department History »


The MA in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies enables students to specialise in an exciting and multi-faceted field of study that covers the history and culture of the Mediterranean world during the long millennium from the foundation of Constantinople in 324 to the fall of the Byzantine empire in 1453. Taking this MA at Royal Holloway is ideal if you are interested in progressing to doctoral research in Byzantine studies, particularly in reading and editing Byzantine texts from manuscripts. It can also lead to careers in education, journalism, finance, politics and cultural sectors.

You will be taught by experts from the College’s Hellenic Institute, a research centre for the diachronic and interdisciplinary study of Hellenism. The Hellenic Institute brings together areas of teaching and research in which Royal Holloway has long excelled: the study of the language, literature and history of Ancient Greece and Byzantine Studies. The Institute promotes the study of Greek language, literature and history, from the archaic and classical age, through the Hellenistic and Roman times, Byzantium and the Post-Byzantine period, to the establishment of the Modern Greek State and the modern world. 

There is an extraordinarily wide choice of courses available, drawing on the resources of the whole of the University of London including a range of modules in research skills (ancient languages, palaeography, epigraphy, papyrology) and those that will develop your critical and conceptual understanding of the field through a variety of disciplines (history, literature, material culture, philosophy).

  • Byzantine Studies at Royal Holloway have a long tradition, the first taught MA degree course was established here.
  • To enable students to benefit from the expertise of all three University of London Colleges, this degree is now delivered through an intercollegiate arrangement. Students should register at the College where staff interests align to their own, as this is where they will undertake their dissertation.
  • Participate in a number of research projects and seminars, lectures and conferences hosted by the Hellenic Institute.
  • Royal Holloway has  one of the largest and liveliest History departments in the UK yet our size is not at the cost of anonymity; you will receive our individual attention and become part of our close-knit post graduate community.

In addition to the core course units, there will be a number of optional course units available during your degree.  Below are a selection of the optional course units that maybe available.

Core

  • Dissertation in the Field of Late and Antique Byzantine Studies
  • Greek or Latin Language (Beginners, Intermediate or Advanced level)
  • Methods and Techniques Seminar: Research Training and Dissertation in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies
  • Methods and Techniques Course: taken as one full-unit course (40 credits) or two half-unit courses (20 credits each) selected from the list below:
    • Latin Epigraphy
    • Greek Papyrology
    • Elementary Greek Palaeography
    • Greek Palaeography
    • Introduction to Greek Epigraphy (20) 
    • Cities of God: Making the Late Antique City (20) 
    • Living in Byzantium I: Material culture & built environment in Late Antiquity (20)
    • Living in Byzantium II: Material culture and built environment in Late Antiquity (20)
    • Medieval Cyprus: Art and Architecture (20)

Optional: taken as one full-unit course (40 credits) or two half-unit courses (20 credits each) selected from the list below:

  • Philosophy under the Roman Empire
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • Neoplatonism
  • Codes and Practice: the World of Roman Law fromAntiquity to the Early Middle Ages
  • Identity and Power in Medieval Europe AD 500-1300
  • Language and Power in the later Roman Empire
  • The Late Roman and Early Byzantine City
  • Constantinople and its Descriptions
  • Byzantine Egypt
  • Greeks & Jews
  • The Christianisation of the Roman World: from Constantine to Justinian
  • The Reign of Constantine I
  • Gender from Antiquity to Byzantium
  • The Greek Novel and Its Influence (1st to 21st Centuries)
  • Homer's Legacy
  • Byzantine Hagiography
  • Greek Papyrology
  • Elementary Greek Palaeography
  • Greek Palaeography
  • Places of Learning in the Medieval Latin West
  • Greek Hands of the Palaeologan Period (13th-15th century)
  • Byzantine Autographs of the Palaeologan Period (13th-15th century)
  • Sacred Tales and Pilgrimage in the Graeco-Roman World (20)
  • Ancient Political Thought and its Medieval Legacy (20) 
  • Medieval Cyprus: Art and Architecture (20)
  • Cities of God: Making the Late Antique City (20)
  • Living in Byzantium I: Material culture & built environment in Late Antiquity (20)
  • Living in Byzantium II: Material culture and built environment in Late Antiquity (20)
  • Late Antique Magic (20)
  • Medieval Papacy (20)
  • Byzantium and the West, A. D. 800-1000 (20)
  • Byzantium and the First Crusade (20)
  • Byzantium and the Fourth Crusade (20)
  • One God, One Sea: Byzantium and Islam, 600-800 (20)
  • Cyprus from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance (20)

Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, written examinations and a dissertation.

Entry criteria:

UK Higher Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

Research experience will also be considered.

  • This course is designed especially for those who are interested in progressing to doctoral research in Byzantine studies, particularly in reading and editing Byzantine texts from manuscripts. It also aims to relate Byzantine history to the wider world. We accept applications from students with different academic backgrounds, including classics, history, theology, philosophy, literature, law, education and palaeography.
  • Interviews are usually offered to applicants and in some cases a sample of essays is required. Applicants who are unable to attend an interview, such as overseas students, will be interviewed by telephone.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies please see here


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor you study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Additional information:

  • An interview and sample essay may be required if we would like more information upon which to base a decision. Applicants unable to attend an interview, such as overseas students, will be interviewed by telephone.

The MA in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Royal Holloway enables students to develop strong presentation and negation skills, along with analytical and research skills, which makes them highly employable and can lead to careers in education, journalism, finance, politics and cultural. The majority of graduates, however continue research on a doctoral level in the field of Byzantine Literature and History, and Greek Palaeography at Royal Holloway and at other universities in Britain and abroad.

  • Recent graduates have entered many different areas, including careers as researchers and university lecturers, teachers in secondary education, librarians, archivists, book conservators, and editors of history journals.
  • A number of our graduates hold teaching posts and research fellowships at the Universities of London, Cyprus, Patras and the Peloponnese, the Hellenic Institute of Royal Holloway, the Institute for Byzantine Research of the Hellenic National Research Foundation, and are employed by the Library of the Greek Parliament and the Department of Book Conservation of the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece.

Our Careers team will work with you to enhance your employability and prepare you for the choices ahead. Their support doesn’t end when you graduate; you can access the service for up to two years after graduation.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £7,000

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £14,500

Other essential costs**: Students resident on Royal Holloway's Egham Campus should be aware that the compulsory language courses and many optional modules are taught at Bedford Square in London and other London Colleges (King's College London, UCL and Birkbeck), and therefore they will need to travel twice or more times a week to the capital to attend these classes. A maximum annual sum of £130 is reimbursed to each Egham resident student towards the travelling expenses (Southwest Trains Travelcard) for this purpose by the Department.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5 per cent for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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